2022, the strongest corporate affairs labour market since 2019

This time last year I cautiously predicted that 2022 would be the busiest 12 months for corporate affairs leadership appointments since 2019, and so it has proved to be.

I also wrote about diversity being the big theme when helping organisations to hire their corporate affairs leaders, and that continued to be the case.

In partnership with employee research and experience agency Ipsos Karian and Box we are proud to have published a comprehensive report based on data from more than 2,500 corporate affairs professionals examining Diversity, Equity and Inclusion across the discipline, and offering practical advice to help improve DEI in corporate affairs.  If you haven’t seen a copy of the report please get in touch and we’ll send you one: hello@birchwoodknight.com.

We’ve also rolled out Cultureview, a bespoke diagnostic tool that maps the competencies and cultural experience of each candidate against the requirements of a role and the culture of an organisation. This supports DEI by focusing decision making on capability, instead of background, previous experience or characteristics.

Inflation has grabbed the headlines in recent months and, in what continues to be an historically tight labour market with record levels of employment and unfilled vacancies*, we’re seeing above normal wage inflation in corporate affairs leadership roles.  The average salary increase of those people we helped to change jobs in the second half of the year was 10.6% higher than the increase we saw in the first half of 2022, and for the hottest talent, this shows no signs of slowing down.

One word of caution, however, for those chasing a big pay rise; large increases usually equate to big expectations.  Don’t be greedy or oversell yourself, find a number everyone can get comfortable with and earn future increases through the quality of your work and the impact you have.

As Birchwood Knight has continued to grow and mature – we’re entering our 14th year – so has the breadth of our work.  This year has seen us help with the appointment of a FTSE 100 ExCo member, run more international searches than ever before and help our clients to appoint interim corporate affairs leaders for almost every reason you can think of.  We’ve worked with global foundations who are making a positive impact on societies around the world, helped scale-ups to put the right corporate affairs structure (and people) in place and supported first time corporate affairs directors get up to speed.

Our paper “If Only I’d Known That Then” exploring six themes 30 highly experienced corporate affairs directors say are the most important when starting in a new role, continues to be a popular download from our website.

We’ve also joined the SME Climate Hub and signed up to the SME Climate Commitment, pledging to halve our greenhouse gas emissions before 2030 in our journey as a business towards achieving net zero before 2050.

There’s also plenty to be excited about next year but for now, thank you to everyone who has been a part of our journey in 2022.

Wayne Reynolds, Founder and Managing Director

*ONS Labour market overview (UK), October 2022

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30th December 2022

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